Mario, Sonic & Link become Pokemon starters in viral mashup idea - Dexerto

Mario, Sonic & Link become Pokemon starters in viral mashup idea

Published: 30/Dec/2021 13:39 Updated: 30/Dec/2021 14:47

by Sam Smith


Artist Casey’s Guts designs Pokemon starter concepts out of Mario, Sonic, and Link, as well as their evolved forms. The artist told us about his process and what inspired him to create these designs.

Those who follow Casey’s Guts on Twitter will be familiar with his artwork and style. The talented artist regularly posts images of his latest work which is often inspired by gaming or popular culture. His latest designs take the Pokemon starters concept, but model them on Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario, and Link from the Legend of Zelda series.

Pokemon starters are normally cute little elemental-themed critters which, in time, grow and evolve into more powerful forms during the course of a game. Casey’s Guts has not only designed Pokemon starter concepts around Sonic, Mario, and Link, but also the forms they’d grow into if they were real Pokemon. The designs have wowed the online community, with over 15k views at the time of writing.


Casey's Guts art
Casey's Guts
Casey’s Guts creates lots of art, this knight looks like he could be from Dark Souls!

Origin of Sonic, Mario, and Link Pokemon starters

Casey’s Guts told Dexerto about his Pokemon starter concepts and what inspired him to design Pokemon based on Sonic, Mario, and Link. He said “I’ve been designing fan Pokémon for fun for a while, even trying to make a whole regional Pokedex, but after watching a series by Truegreen7 (a Pokémon artist on YouTube) I thought it’d be fun to design starters based on big gaming icons.”

“My main goal was to tell a story for each starter that relates to the gameplay and mechanics of the series they’re based on. I also wanted each starter to not represent the character they’re based on exactly but more so supporting characters from those series.”


Link Pokemon starter concept design

Casey’s Guts explained how he designed the Link Pokemon starter concept, taking inspiration from a variety of Zelda games.

He told us, “I started with the grass type Link line, where it would vaguely follow Links growth throughout Ocarina of Time. The first stage represents the Kokiri. The second stage represents Young Link as he sets out on his adventure with his wooden shield and Kokiri sword. “

“The final evolution represents adult Link after the seven-year time skip once he’s gotten the Master sword and Hylian shield. The entire grass line can manipulate their wooden arms into different weapons and tools to represent all the different items you collect in the Zelda games.”


zelda pokemon design
Casey's Guts
These Pokemon are based on Link from The Legend of Zelda.

Mario Pokemon starter concept design

When it came to Mario, Casey’s guts envisioned him as a fire-themed Pokemon, saying, “The fire type Mario based line was the simplest since Mario already has fire-based powers and an animal related power-up, the Tanuki suit.”

“The first stage is a tanuki with some Mario-esque traits. The second stage is based on Mario from Mario 3 where he gets the super leaf. The final stage is based more on the modern the Mario design.”

Going into more detail, the artist said, “In order to include things like the buttons on Mario’s overalls and the white label on his hat I took inspiration from Pikachu’s electric cheek pouches for white hot fire pouches that I could use as the label and buttons.”


Mario Pokemon
Casey's Guts
These Pokemon are based on everyone’s favorite plumber.

Sonic Pokemon starter concept design

Finally, the artist told us about his Sonic the Hedgehog Pokemon starter concept and how Sonic’s connection to water throughout his games inspired the design.

“Sonic was designed last as I wasn’t sure how to make him fit as a water type as canonically, he can’t swim. Rather than ignore that part of his character I made it a major aspect of his design. The first stage is based on the animal buddies from the first sonic game. Despite being a water type it can’t swim much like Sonic.”

The second evolution resembles classic Sonic and incorporates the bubble shield, which in the games let the player more easily traverse water levels. The final evolution resembles modern Sonic and uses electricity to form the bubble shields into goggles that mimic the shape of Sonic’s M-shaped brow.


“A bubble on his chest that he could use to breath underwater while also resembling Sonic’s round belly spot. Using the iconic bubble shield allowed me to work in the water typing while staying true to Sonics aversion to water.”

sonic pokemon
Casey's Guts
Sega’s blue blur is the inspiration for these 3 Pokemon.

We look forward to seeing what other designs Casey’s Guts comes up with in the future.